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Salford’s Batley beating leaves Million Pound Game to keep Super League hopes alive

Salford travelled over the Pennines knowing that a potential banana-skin awaited them against a plucky Batley Bulldogs team.

But beating their Championship rivals 42-14 in this final game of the Super 8’s Qualifiers keeps their hopes of retaining Super League status alive.

Coach Ian Watson recalled Robert Lui at stand-off whilst Daniel Vidot was on the bench.

The Reds’ early pressure eventually paid off in the 11th minute when Gareth O’Brien scooted over to score.

He added the extras too when his kick rebounded in off the posts (0-6).

Two minutes later Salford were into double figures when Josh Griffin put Junior S’au in at the corner. O’Brien obliged with his kick for a 0-12 lead.

On the 20 minute mark, Batley got some reward for their endeavours when winger Wayne Rettie was on hand to cross by the corner-flag (4-12).

Four minutes later the Reds restored the margin when Weller Hauraki waltzed over off a pass from Michael Dobson. O’Brien converting for a 4-18 advantage.

Salford then added three further tries when firstly Ben Murdoch–Masila squeezed out a pass to enable Greg Johnson to score.

Then Hauraki turned inside and cantered over for an easy try and then Sau sent Josh Griffin coasting in. O’Brien added two conversions for a commanding half-time lead of 4-34.

The Reds had had the luxury of playing down Batley’s notorious slope in the first half and knew the second-half would be a different proposition.

Batley served early notice in the 45th minute when a Pat Walker kick was greatly received by Rennie who crashed over for his second try of the game (8-34).

In the 52nd minute Lui scored the game’s best try when he skipped through the Bulldogs defence off a Dobson pass to score (8-38).

Batley then notched their third try through Chris Ulugia. Walker landed the conversion for a 14-38 scoreline.

The Reds though had the final say when O’Brien glided over for his second try for a final score of 14-42.

This was by no means a flashy performance but it was just what the Reds need before next week’s tough assignment at Hull KR in the Qualifier’s Million Pound game.

Coach Ian Watson was pleased with his team’s display: “The way we played it, I thought was perfect, it was just a really good professional performance.

“It took us 10 or 15 minutes to get going but, once we did, I thought we were really good.”

Watson also had one eye on Saturday’s game: “We know what’s at the end of it so it’s going to be a big week, Hull KR have got a real good support base and it’s at their home ground so that gives them a bit of a boost. They will be favourites.

“But we’ve had a real good test here, being away and playing the conditions so that should set us up for next week.”

Salford need to defeat Hull KR in Saturday’s one-off decider at the Lightstream Stadium to avoid relegation to the Kingstone Press Championship.

Read more at http://talksport.com/rugby-league/qualifiers-super-8s-salford-red-devils-book-million-pound-game-meeting-hull-kr-london#LEYJfSSEa2sZxoCo.99

Salford Red Devils: O’Brien, Johnson, Jones, J Griffin, S’au, Lui, Dobson, Burgess, Tomkins, G Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Hauraki, Flanagan.

Subs: Kenny, Vidot, A Walne, Krasniqi.

Referee: Mr C Campbell

Main image: By Ryan Wilde

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